Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cat Stevens. "Oh Very Young"-- I love this song!

Today, I sent a number of poems to magazines, which proves difficult in that I'm not sure where my new work fits. In any case, I'm working it. I will send more out later this week.

I've narrowed it down to four poems/excerpts for the back cover of the book, as I will not be having any blurbs!!! Why?? The poetry world is full of who-knows-who, and I really am tired of it, too.

But in the end, I have to enjoy the writing. Regarding placing a poem or excerpt on the back cover, I'm excited about from a poem in the collection titled "Dawn." We'll see if that one is a go, or the three others I've decided might work. One poem is titled "Universal Kiss," and I'm thinking it might work too.

In any case, sending work out today was a humbling experience. This lack of confidence is something I must continually work on, and I think it comes about due to past traumas. Anger too at favoritism and who-knows-who communal out-casting bothers me for these same reasons. But I speak into the ether to myself mostly. I have to remain constant with the writing, with the healing and with the faith. I have to believe I have some talent and work hard. I have to have faith that I can somehow be of help to other people. I have to believe that the b.s. that goes on doesn't have to affect me!!! I think in time, I am getting there. Despite the frustration, I've found some peace in just writing and healing.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Colorado Leadership Academy sponsored by the Colorado Mental Wellness was terrific. I learned a lot about self advocacy and advocacy for peers. I learned leadership is about service rather than command. I learned active listening helps us communicate, and that conflict isn't something to be ignored, but rather handled in a loving, concerned manner. I learned one can be a leader without a title, by helping others live. It was a great time, and I was honored to be side by side with so many advocates, peer-specialists, and wonderfully giving individuals who work behind the scene and help their peers learn to advocate for themselves in what is often a maze of mental health agencies. My goal is to help fight the stigma that many people face in this country about mental illness. Recovery is possible. Recovery is real!! As someone said, recovery is about the soul. Loved it, just loved it. I may volunteer for Mental Health of America and/or the Jefferson Center for Mental Health.  I very much admire those who step forward and fight stigma and stereotyping of those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. For the first time, I told my story to an audience, and listened to other stories which were moving, and a great lesson in recovery and wellness. At 47, I consider myself a beginner, a novice wanting to learn and grow. The struggle with my illness came full force in 2008. When I was younger, late twenties, I suffered from illness and cast doctors off due to my own self-stigma. In 2008, I faced years of not being in treatment, flashbacks and paranoia. I was afraid. Due to the steps I've taken in recovery, I am feeling more focused, more ready to begin helping others. Recovery is a process of learning to love oneself. You can't love others if you can't love yourself. My forthcoming collection deals with this slow journey of recovery, yet it is in many ways sparse without some of the harsher details. Yet, it is somewhat shocking, but I've had good feedback and editing from strong women, which I feel is my audience. Maybe my book can help other survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma heal or begin the journey of healing. I hope so.

Leadership is about building trust, and in my life, many in authority or wielding power have broken trust. I have due to PTSD among other things, a very, very bad reaction to people who wield authority in this manner. Leaders encourage people and develop relationships of trust!!! We studied many different styles of leadership, and one I dislike is Autocratic, where one leader makes all the decisions. Bad idea. People are talking about Mitt Romney being aggressive in the debate, but aggression does not make a true leader. I like best that leaders work with a team, not alone. I am looking for opportunities to give back since I have been helped so much. I am very excited and motivated to make a difference. Poetry is something I will continue to do as it too helped me survive. I recently got some interview questions on facebook that I haven't yet answered, and one question is, "What is poetry?"  Poetry, it seems to me, is similar to the journey of recovery. It's a way of seeing ourselves and the world around us with clarity. I lived in a fog until 2008. I was 43. My first collection was written when I was truly disconnected from myself and others. Yet the act of writing helped bring me out of myself, helped me survive!!! Every difficulty takes us closer to where we were meant to be, and I've grown tremendously the last four years. I've had to accept I have a disability, which is no easy matter. But that puts me in a position to help others who are going through the same struggles. Similarly, poetry can do the same thing. I guess that's partly why I still write using the first person.  I spent too many years being ashamed of my SELF. I therefore want to embrace it, and collect all the broken pieces and create some kind of mosaic, some kind of mixed-media art music with words and breaths and silences.